Trance – Directed by Danny Boyle – Review

Thanks to Eclipse Pictures I watched a press screening of Danny Boyle’s new film “Trance”.


Star Wars was the first film I watched in the cinema that came from 20 Century Fox studios. Since then, whenever I hear the familiar drumbeats, trumpets and string section and see those searchlights I have always thought of that galaxy far, far away.  It is like I have been hypnotised; this is a state in which you will find the main character on many an occasion throughout the aptly named “Trance”.


Auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) tries to foil the theft of a valuable painting by but ends up with amnesia. The thieves, led by Franck (Vincent Cassel), track him down when they realise they have failed to actually steal the painting. With the help of hypnotherapist Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson) they try to recover his lost memories of the robbery.


This sounds straightforward but as soon as the hypnosis theme kicks in Danny Boyle takes us on a tour of Simon’s blocked mind like we are negotiating a route with an out of date map.

McAvoy is getting very good (typecast?) at playing the innocent thrown into dangerous situations (Wanted, Last King of Scotland) and does much the same here. Vincent Cassel (Black swan, Derailed) is also comfortable in the role of the charming masculine menace, while Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Death Proof) is equally believable and uses her hypnotherapy and femininity to full effect as she finds herself becoming entwined in Simon’s rescue.


As the hypnotic episodes become elongated the lines between fact and fiction of the story spiral to a degree that you will have to have your wits about you to unravel the reality of the caper.

Not only Boyle is showing no signs of slowing down and in fact seems like he is actually speeding up as a director with almost split second Punkish editing, sharp direction and a heart thumping soundtrack which all serve to whip you up in the spirit of the story and you will forgive, as I did, some plot hiccups along the way.


It may not be his best but Boyle certainly delivers 101 minutes of an enjoyably, twisted and head wrecking crime caper.
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One response to “Trance – Directed by Danny Boyle – Review

  1. Sounds like an entertaining action-adventure caper, and also like everything I most dislike about modern effects movies and genre fiction. Amnesia. Hypnotism. Memory recovery. The very notion of “action-adventure.” Yuk. I yearn for a return to authentic story-telling involving true and believable characters being treated as if they are more valuable than a jittery, eye-captivating plot. That said, I’ll probably see this, and I’ll probably like it well enough until about five minutes after I’ve left the theater, and it dissolves back down into the river of same-old-same-old from which it had briefly crystallized.

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